US Attorney’s office commends detectives for help prosecuting pimps

Federal prosecutors recently thanked Anaheim Vice Detail Investigators for their work in helping win convictions against two pimps who had enslaved four underage girls and one woman.

In a private meeting earlier this month, the detectives – along with the FBI agents they collaborated with – were recognized at a National Crime Victim’s Week event.

To view a recent KNBC report about the Vice Detail, click on the photo

To view a recent KNBC report about the Vice Detail, click on the photo

The cases were part of a national effort to rescue women from their pimps.

This isn’t the first time APD’s innovative approach to human-trafficking earned federal law enforcement recognition.

Last year, the FBI published a crime bulletin highlighting APD’s approach, which treats prostitutes as victims and focuses investigative efforts on finding and arresting pimps.

The police department said it has rescued 380 women and arrested several dozen pimps since then.

“The quality of work that they do is outstanding,” said an FBI agent who investigated the most recent case alongside APD detectives. “These cases could not have been brought without them.”

Behind the Badge is not publishing names of the detectives or the FBI agent because of the nature of their undercover work.

One of the pimps, Curtis Canady, was recently sentenced to 97 months in federal prison. His co-defendant, Rayshaad Tait, is scheduled to be sentenced today.

Among the crimes, according to the FBI: using the Internet to sell sex services to men from Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Bruno’s tale illustrates danger of police work

He did his job.

Bruno and his partner, R.J. Young.

Bruno and his partner, R.J. Young.

Those four words echoed through the halls of the Anaheim Police Department in the days after K-9 Officer Bruno was shot in the face while tracking an armed suspect.

“If Bruno wasn’t there, there’s no doubt in my mind that somebody would’ve gotten hurt,” said Officer R.J. Young, his handler.

Bruno’s job involves sniffing out narcotics and bad guys and putting his life on the line to protect his colleagues.

On March 23, Bruno did his job with remarkable valor.

After being shot, the 7-year-old German shepherd only yelped once – even though the round shattered his jaw, damaged his lung and lodged less than an inch from his heart.

The unfolding drama of Bruno’s heroism and dramatic recovery reverberated across the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of supportive messages from Australia, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and across the U.S.

As we continue to root for Bruno’s full and speedy recovery, let’s not forget what led him to Mayfair Avenue.

A parolee who had been released from prison 10 days earlier had fired at probation officers.

As they always do, police officers raced toward the danger.

Contemplate what it must be like for the husbands, wives, family and friends of police officers, especially on days when an armed ex-con fires at officers.

“Obviously, I’m devastated over what happened to Bruno,” Rachel Young, R.J.’s wife, told the Register. “But I’m so happy and relieved that my husband came home that day because he might not have.”

The suspect was killed when officers returned fire. This wasn’t the suspect’s first brush with law enforcement.

“After he was tackled during an arrest in 2011, he told a deputy in county jail that he struggled with the officer to get away, and had ‘even tried to reach for his gun,’” the Register reported. “When the deputy asked why he tried to grab the gun, (the suspect) said, ‘Because if I did get the gun I would have killed him,’ according to court records.”

Gang violence is down in Anaheim – in part because of innovative police programs aimed at encouraging impressionable young people to make good decisions.

But being a police officer is still a dangerous job that requires significant courage – as Bruno continues to demonstrate.

* This column appeared Tuesday on the Orange County Register’s website and is expected to be published in Thursday’s edition of the Anaheim Bulletin.

Update: Bruno continues to improve, city shares video and ‘hero’ T-shirt unveiled

Bruno, the police dog who was shot in the face by an armed suspect more than two weeks ago, continued to show signs of improvement Friday after emergency surgery for a condition called gastric bloat earlier in the week, officials said.

“The surgery was a set back,” said Officer R.J. Young, his handler, on Thursday evening. “But he’s coming back from it pretty well.”

Animal hospital officials said Bruno can drink and eat “little bites” out of a dish – though he was still receiving oxygen and fluid intravenously.

“You would have never believed Bruno had bloat surgery less than two days ago,” Yorba Regional Animal Hospital’s Steve Dunbar posted on its Facebook page Thursday night. “He is healing at an amazing rate.”

Bloat occurs when too much air fills the stomach, making it difficult to breath.

“He’s got to learn to eat and drink again,” Young said.

The city on Thursday shared video footage of Young’s visit with Bruno on Monday, before the emergency surgery. Click on the clips to view.Hero T-shirt

On Friday, a Facebook group called Anaheim Hills Buzz unveiled artwork on a “hero” T-shirt it will be selling to raise money for Bruno’s future medical expenses.

The group is also hosting a “Benefit for Bruno” on April 12 from noon-4 p.m. at the Reunion Kitchen + Drink. The event will include a hand-crafted “hair of the day” hand-crafted cocktail, appetizers, a raffle and auction items. An APD K-9 and handler will be there. For more information, please contact benefit4bruno@gmail.com.

On April 19, “Dog Park for Chino Hills” is hosting a “Breakfast for Bruno” from 8-10 a.m. at the Applebees at 3956 Grand Avenue in Chino Hills. Tickets are $10. For more information, contact www.dogparkforchinohills.org.

Scentsy, a ceramic warmer that uses a light bulb or heating plate to melt scented wax instead of a wick, is donating at least 30% of its pretax sales in April to Bruno’s recovery fund. For more, visit www.tosmell.scentsy.us.

On March 28, Tony’s Deli donated 10% of its sales during a fund-raiser that included the unveiling of a “Bruno Hero Special” sandwich.

And on Tuesday students at Fairmont Private School collected pennies for Bruno and presented K-9 Officer Brett Klevos and his partner, Guenther, a check for $2,200.

And the Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association continues to raise money. You can mail donations to PO Box 17882, Anaheim, CA 92817; make a donation at any US Bank branch, attention “Friends of the Anaheim Police K9 – Bruno Donation Account or visit them on Facebook.

The group will host its largest annual fund-raiser April 25-27 at the Pet Expo at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Young plans to be at the booth each day.

Cheryl Timmons said the group will be selling T-shirts.

She said they have received mail and donations from people all over the world, including a police unit in Switzerland.

“None of us can begin to express how totally overwhelmed we are with the goodness of kind hearted people,” she said. “A total ‘mind-blower’ for sure.”

Update: Bruno still ‘weeks away’ from coming home, handler says

While K-9 Bruno’s miraculous recovery from a gunshot wound took another step forward Friday, his handler said he is still likely “weeks away” from coming home.Bruno and RJ Young

Officer R.J. Young said he and his wife were relieved after learning doctors were successful in making progress toward repairing his shattered jaw and reconstructing his tongue.

But he said his partner would remain at the Yorba Regional Medical Hospital “for as long as he needs to rest.”

“I want him home as soon as possible,” Young said. “But he’ll be here until he can eat and drink on his own.”

There are also too many distractions at home, Young said.

“His lifestyle at home is very chaotic,” he said. “He goes 100 miles an hour, then crashes.”

Bruno was injured on March 20, when he located a suspect believed to have fired at probation officers. A gang member who had been released from prison 10 days earlier, the suspect opened fire, hitting Bruno in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

R.J. Young said without Bruno “there’s no doubt in my mind that either me or somebody else would’ve gotten hurt.”

The round shattered Bruno’s jaw, and damaged part of his lung. X-Rays show just how much devastation the round caused. They also show how the round lodged within an inch of his heart. It was so close to his heart, officials said, that surgeons decided not to remove it.

His story has drawn international attention, and millions of views on Facebook and Twitter. This morning, Bruno and the Youngs were featured on ABC News’ program, Good Morning America. They were also featured on People Magazine’s website.

Young said he and his wife, Rachel, have been overwhelmed by the support. He said hopes more people will understand the role K-9 officers play in keeping their partners, police departments and communities safe.

“I’m grateful that something good is coming out of this,” he said.

Donations to help the Youngs fund Bruno’s long-term health can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

Update: K-9 Bruno’s lungs functioning, surgery successful

K-9 Officer Bruno’s miraculous recovery from a gunshot wound last week took another positive turn Friday – when doctors declared that his repaired lung is now working properly.

An X-ray of Bruno's shattered jaw

An X-ray of Bruno’s shattered jaw

“It was a very successful surgery,” said Lt. Tim Schmidt. “They took his breathing tube out, and he’s healing exactly the way they want him to.”

Bruno fasted for 12-hours before the early morning surgery at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital.

Surgeons also reattached the bottom portion of his tongue, which will enable him to drink and eat with greater ease.

It’s unclear when he’ll return home with his partner and handler, Officer R.J. Young, wife Rachel, and daughter, Grace, 3-months.

But Bruno probably won’t be returning to work.

The round is lodged less than an inch from Bruno's heart

The round is lodged less than an inch from Bruno’s heart

Bruno was injured on March 20, when he located a suspect believed to have fired at probation officers. A gang member who had been released from prison 10 days earlier, the suspect opened fire, hitting Bruno in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

R.J. Young said without Bruno “there’s no doubt in my mind that either me or somebody else would’ve gotten hurt.”

The round shattered Bruno’s jaw, and damaged part of his lung. X-Rays show just how much devastation the round caused. They also show how the round lodged within an inch of his heart. It was so close to his heart, officials said, that surgeons decided not to remove it.

His story has drawn international attention and millions of views on Facebook and Twitter. This morning, Bruno and the Youngs were featured on the ABC News program, Good Morning America.

Donations to help the Youngs fund Bruno’s long-term health care have flowed into the Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association.

In an interview Thursday, R.J. Young described Bruno as “like a son to me.”

“Each day is better than the last,” R.J. Young said. “He’s like a son to me. Bruno will be with me for the rest of my life.”

—–
Donations can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

Bruno’s condition continues to improve; his story draws national and celeb attention

K-9 Officer Bruno’s recovery from a gunshot wound continues to tug at the heartstrings of the community – and the nation.Bruno

His handler, R.J. Young, said his condition is improving. He and his wife, Rachel, visited with Bruno for about 20 minutes Thursday, and said the surgeons who reconstructed his jaw are expected to give him a thorough examination tomorrow.

“We’ll know tomorrow whether he will get his chest tube out,” Young said. “If so that means his damaged lung is doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Also Thursday afternoon, a crew from the ABC News program Good Morning America (@GMA on Twitter) visited Orange County to interview the Youngs. The story is expected to air Friday morning during the 7 a.m. hour.

During the filming at the Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, where Bruno is still listed in critical condition, Kay Hill, of Riverside, showed up with her checkbook to make a donation to the Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association.

She was elated to meet the Youngs – and to hear about Bruno’s improvement.

“I was touched by the story,” Hill said, hugging R.J. Young and handing him $100. “I saw him on TV this morning. We love you, Bruno.”

She’s not alone.

Rachel Young said students from dozens of elementary schools have sent stacks of cards with well wishes.

The story has also gone viral on social media. More than 1.3 million people have viewed it on Anaheim PD’s Facebook page – and it has reached more than four million Twitter accounts.

Among those tweeting their support: Celebrity actors John Stamos, Bo Derek and Shannon Tweed.

Bruno was injured on March 20, after he found a suspect who had allegedly shot at probation officers on Mayfair Avenue. The suspect, a gang member who had been released from prison 10 days earlier, opened fire, hitting him in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

The round shattered his jaw, damaged part of his lung and is lodged less than an inch from his heart.

“To see Bruno’s reaction with R.J. is wonderful,” Rachel Young said. “Bruno spends more time with him than me.”

The Youngs said they have been overwhelmed by the public’s reaction and continued support.

“Each day is better than the last,” R.J. Young said. “He’s like a son to me. Bruno will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Donations can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

Bruno ‘took a bullet that was meant for one of us,’ says handler; He’s retiring

Bruno, the police dog who made international news this week, “took a bullet that was meant for one of us” when he signaled that an armed gang member was hiding near a trashcan, his handler said Tuesday.Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.18.42 PM

“There’s no doubt in my mind that either me or somebody else would’ve gotten hurt,” said Anaheim Police Officer R.J. Young, 36, Bruno’s partner. “Bruno did exactly what he’s trained to do.”

The gang member opened fire on Thursday afternoon, hitting Bruno in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

Young said Bruno will not return to work. “He’s got a long road ahead of him,” Young said. “He’ll be able to lay around and get fat. His new job will be Mr. Big Brother” to Young’s daughter, Grace, who is three months old.

In an interview with Behind the Badge, Young said he wanted to thank the public for its support and to encourage donations to K-9 programs – especially Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association.

“The support we’ve received from the police department, from police departments across the country and from citizens around the world has been amazing,” Young said.

Young described Bruno as a “stud.”

After being shot, he yelped only once. Young scooped him up and raced him to Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, where surgeons worked for three hours to reconstruct his jaw and remove part of a damaged lung.

The round lodged less than an inch from his heart.

Bruno, who is seven years old, stayed on his feet for most of the “longest ride of my life” to the hospital, before finally collapsing, Young said.

“I was banging the cage and calling his name,” Young said. “I kept saying, ‘We’re almost there, Buddy.’ He never cried. He never whined.”

Anaheim police dispatchers radioed the hospital, and they were ready with a gurney when Young and Bruno arrived.

Getting him there so quickly saved his life, Young said, because Bruno had lost so much blood.

On Tuesday, Young, his wife, and daughter brought coffee and sandwiches to thank the hospital staff. “We’ll never be able to repay them for what they did for us,” he said.

Young said he hopes people appreciate that it’s not just him, Bruno and his family dealing with the fallout of being involved in a shooting.

A nine-year APD veteran, Young described Bruno as an outstanding cop.

Early in his career, he found 29 kilos of cocaine during a search.

After the Anaheim Angels’ Nick Adenhart was killed, it was Bruno who initially tracked the hit-and-run driver to railroad tracks that eventually led detectives to find and arrest a suspect.

Another time, Bruno found a suspect armed with a loaded gun hiding in a bush.

“He’s had a phenomenal career,” he said. “And he put his life on the line for us all the time.”

Young said Bruno loves police work. When he’d hear the sound of Young snapping his gun belt, Bruno would head to the front door with his leash.

But he also has a softer side. At work, “he’s Daddy’s boy,” but at home, he dotes on his wife, Rachel, and the baby.

On Sunday, Bruno ate unassisted for the first time. He also went for a short walk. The staff at the animal hospital shared his progress on their Facebook page, and hundreds of thousands of people on social media cheered and shared the positive news. The police department received messages from people in Australia, England and Scotland.

On Sunday, Anaheim’s Friends of the K-9 and Anaheim Buzz held a fund-raiser for Bruno, which Young’s wife attended. The event netted $4,600.

He said he’s remained composed most of the time since Thursday’s shooting. He admitted that when he saw his K-9 partners at the hospital after the shooting he “got a little emotional.”

“The police department has shown that they consider Bruno part of the family,” he said. “They are just as much a cop as any of us.”

On Monday morning, Young enjoyed a 30-minute reunion with Bruno.

Young said he curled up in his kennel with him. “I could’ve just fallen asleep in there with him.”

Interested in helping?

The Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association is collecting donations to cover Bruno’s medical care. Donations can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

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